Public Health Policy Management

Policy Brief

The summer is drawing to a close as is your summer legislative internship in Minnesota. All staff efforts, including your previous three tasks, have led toward policy action. The legislator will send the language for the new legislation to the Legislative Counsel’s office for further drafting and development. The legislator has asked you to develop a policy brief for distribution to news and media outlets, and stakeholder audiences.
Building on the research and key learnings you have gained from your previous three tasks—the public health issue and policy review, the advocacy letter, and the speech draft for the community leaders’ meeting—you are to prepare a policy brief. The language you use in your policy brief needs to be clear and concise so that the average person can understand the policy brief’s key messages.

Demonstration of Proficiency

By successfully completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the course competencies through the following assignment scoring guide criteria:

  • Competency 1: Explain the impact of policies and legislation on individual and population health.
    • Provide a clear call for individual and population health action in a succinct concluding statement.
  • Competency 2: Identify and define public health issues based on best evidence about what makes and keeps people healthy.
    • Describe the specific public health issue that has created a challenge for making and keeping a specific population or community healthy.
  • Competency 3: Describe the relationship between cost, quality, and outcomes in determining public health funding decision-making.
    • Present the pros and cons of policy action.
  • Competency 4: Develop policies that maximize the positive impacts of social and economic determinants on the health of individuals, communities, and populations.
    • Present a clear overview of the policy brief, highlighting the content covered in the brief.
    • Provide the best evidence-based recommendation for policy action, including two to three specific suggestions that will positively impact social and economic determinants of health.
  • Competency 5: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and respectful of the diversity, dignity, and integrity of others and is consistent with health care professionals.
    • Cite in APA format a minimum of five current, scholarly and/or authoritative sources within the text and in a separate reference page.
    • Write a clear, persuasive, organized, and generally error-free policy brief that is reflective of professional communication in the public health field.


Consult these resources, linked in the Resources, for additional information about how to prepare a policy brief:

  • Wong, Green, Bazemore, and Miller’s 2016 article, “How to Write a Health Policy Brief,” from Families, Systems, & Health, volume 35, issue 1, pages 21–24.
  • Richardson’s 2016 policy brief, “Off-Label Drug Promotion,” from Health Affairs.
  • Cornachione, Rudowitz, and Artiga’s 2016 issue brief, “Children’s Health Coverage: The Role of Medicaid and CHIP and Issues for the Future,” from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Note: The last two items listed above provide real-life exemplars of the issues and outcomes presented in actual policy briefs. These briefs are provided for your review only. Be sure to use the Policy Brief Template provided in the Resources to create your policy brief. Your policy brief should include all of the following headings and address all of the questions underneath each heading.

  • Executive Summary/Abstract (1 page).
    This is a concise summary of the key points you will present in the policy brief. You summary needs to answer these questions:

    • What is the problem you have identified that needs to be addressed with legislation?
    • Why is this problem significant?
    • What are the main recommendations for policy action that will help to improve the stated problem?
    • What outcomes will result from this proposed legislation?
    • Note: As a suggestion, you may want to consider drafting your executive summary after completing your policy brief.
  • The Problem (1–2 pages).
    This section of your policy brief describes the public health issue that has created a challenge for a specific population. In this section, address these questions:

    • What is the public health issue?
    • Which population in your community, state, or in the United States has been impacted the most by this public health issue?
      • What demographic and health status data will support your assertion?
      • How could you present this information visually to help convey your points? Consider graphs, charts, tables, photographs, et cetera.
    • What is this issue significant to the stated population, or why should it be significant to this population?
      • What data could you include to show the significance and relevance of this public health issue? Consider data such as morbidity, mortality, cost, indicators of health access, et cetera.
      • How could you visually display the data you are presenting? Consider including one or two graphs, charts, tables, photographs, et cetera.
    • Who has the influence to change the stated problem?
      • Who else besides policy makers can effect change?
      • What role could other stakeholders play in facilitating change? Consider fields such as health care, education, leaders in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, et cetera.
  • Policy Recommendation (1–2 pages).
    In this section of your policy brief focus on the specific policy action that will help to address the identified problem. Be sure to address all of these questions in the description of your recommended policy action:

    • What specific policy action is best for implementation?
    • What are the two to three specific recommendations you are making?
    • Which is the most appropriate implementation level (federal or state) for this policy action?
    • Why is policy action at this level the best option?
    • What previous policy actions have been taken by other policy makers that have proved inadequate to address the issue?
    • Why did these previous efforts fall short?
    • How does the proposed policy action extend or expand previous efforts other policy makers have made? ​
  • Anticipated Results (1–2 pages).
    • Why is policy action necessary?
    • Why wouldn’t stakeholder action alone be sufficient to achieve the desired outcome?
    • What are two intended outcomes or results that would show how the policy has positively affected the population most impacted by the chosen public health issue?
    • What are two potential negative outcomes that may occur as a result of the policy action? Be sure to consider the population most impacted by the proposed legislation. Also consider other groups that may be impacted.
    • What barriers to implementation do you foresee that may hinder implementation in the short- or long-term? Be sure to consider ethical, legal, and/or financial challenges.
  • Call to Action (1–2 paragraphs).
    ​Provide a conclusion in which you specify exactly what action you want constituents and stakeholders to take as a result of reading this policy brief. Be sure your concluding call to action answers these questions:

    • Why is policy action needed now?
    • What specific actions can constituents take now?
    • What specific actions can stakeholders take now?
    • What happens if no action is taken?

Additional Requirements

  • Written communication: Your policy brief needs to be clear, concise, persuasive, well organized and generally free of errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Remember that the audience for your policy brief is the average person, not a public health expert.
  • Cover page: Include your name, course number and title, instructor name, and assignment title. Create a clear title for your policy brief that specifically names the key public health issue you are addressing.
  • Length: 6–8 double-spaced content pages in Times New Roman, 12-point font.
  • Citations and References: Cite at least five current, scholarly and/or authoritative sources in APA format within the text and in a separate reference page.
  • Scoring guide: Review this assignment’s scoring guide so that you understand how your faculty member is going to evaluate your policy brief.